Canada saw record investment in commercial properties in the second quarter as the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic pushed buyers and sellers off the sidelines.
With the country’s economy rebounding, C$14 billion ($11 billion) worth of commercial real estate changed hands in the three-month period, a 29% increase over the previous quarter, according to a report Monday from commercial brokerage CBRE Group Inc.
Applications now open for 2022 Halton Region Community Investment funding – Oakville News
Community organizations can now submit applications to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) for non-profit human service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents. Applicants must describe how they will incorporate the latest COVID-19 public health guidance and how their program or initiative aligns with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being.
“We are pleased to support the important work of local non-profits through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank these organizations for delivering vital services to some of our most vulnerable residents and working alongside us to keep Halton a safe and healthy community.”
Funding is available in single year and multi-year grants through two categories:
- Category One: Provides up to one year of funding, to a maximum of $30,000. Non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations can apply to fund short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.
- Category Two: Provides up to three years of funding to registered charities for programs and initiatives.
Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit one application in each funding category. The initial application deadline for both categories is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 2 p.m. Additional opportunities to apply for HRCIF funding will be available in 2022 for programs and initiatives that help respond to emerging community needs.
The Region will host three virtual information sessions to help community organizations learn about the HRCIF and the application process:
- Friday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to noon
- Wednesday, September 29 from 2 to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, October 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.
For more information about HRCIF guidelines, upcoming virtual information sessions and the application process, please visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.
Don't know how to invest your extra cash? Let a robot do it for you. – USA TODAY
Stock Market 101: Basic strategies investors use to profit off stocks
Before jumping into the market, here’s what first-time investors should know about stocks, capital gains and mistakes to avoid.
For My Money, USA TODAY
Let’s say you have a pile of cash that you’re ready to invest.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t want to spend all your time with your eyes glued to a screen, actively trading on Robinhood. You want your money to grow, but you don’t want to think about it all the time. Maybe the idea of interacting with an investment professional gives you anxiety, or the fees sound like a lot.
You’re not alone.
A study of 3,000 U.S. adults conducted by Vise, a technology-powered investment management platform built for advisers, that was given exclusively to USA TODAY found that the biggest barrier to working with an adviser is concern about how much it would cost (43%).
Here’s what I did: I skipped the personal investment adviser and got a robot to build my portfolio.
Roboadvisers, digital apps that use algorithms to build investment portfolios, are an increasingly popular vehicle for investing, especially for young adults who want a tool that is uncomplicated and mobile-friendly.
You can download an app and fill out a survey about yourself with questions like your age, income and risk tolerance. Based on those responses, roboadvisers generate a portfolio of stocks and bonds for you to maximize your long term returns.
These investment vehicles can scale dramatically with little marginal cost because the portfolio is generated by algorithms. Since they cut out the human element of investing, they can service millions of customers at once with just a few lines of code.
Many roboadvisers are designed with young investors in mind, specifically millennial and Gen Z clients.
Gen Zers, born between 1997 and 2012, began entering the workforce shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and when unemployment rates were at historic lows. Jobless rates subsequently skyrocketed and then have leveled off. And those workers are starting to save for retirement at an unprecedented young age, according to Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a nonprofit organization.
Similar to millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, these young Americans are saddled with student loans and credit card debt but want to invest for retirement and build up savings.
“Millennials and Gen Z grew up digitally native, and they expect to be able to manage their money the same way they order stuff from Amazon or call a car on Uber,” says Kate Wauck, chief communications officer at Wealthfront, a roboadvising company. “These young investors don’t want to have to pick up the phone or walk into a stuffy office to manage their money.”
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Most investors want a financial adviser but don’t trust robos
Despite familiarity with digital tools among young investors, the same study by Vise showed that nearly half of Americans (48%) trust human financial advisers, compared with just 11% of Americans who trust roboadvisers.
Two percent of total respondents and 4% of 18- to 24 year-olds used roboadvisers. Three percent of respondents from 25 to 49, 1% from 50 to 64 and 0% of 65 and older had tried roboadvisers.
By contrast, 41% of people over 65 say they work with a financial adviser, compared with 26% of Gen X, 17% of millennials and 14% of Gen Z.
“People, young or old or anything, trust a human being, especially with their most personal asset, which is money,” explains Samir Vasavada, founder and CEO of Vise and a member of Gen Z himself.
Robo options to consider
Despite low adoption rates, a wide variety of roboadvising options exist depending on your investment goals.
SoFi Invest allows customers to invest with just $5 and charges no management fee, according to The RoboReport from the second quarter of 2021. On average, the roboadvisers in the report charged a 0.35% management fee.
InteractiveAdvisors is another option that provides portfolios for sustainable and socially responsible investments if you care about buying from companies that share your values. Betterment also has some options for ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) investing, including Climate Impact, Social Impact, and Broad Impact.
Betterment is great for first-time investors with its “intuitive dashboard” and “excellent suite of educational tools,” says The RoboReport.
Wealthfront has the best financial planning tools, according to the report, including features to model one’s home purchase and future net worth.
Other roboadvisers aim to change the financial landscape for new investors, including women. Ellevest, for instance, is a roboadviserbuilt by women and tailored for female investors.
Roboadvisers: pros & cons
To be sure, roboadvisers have their fair share of benefits, as well disadvantages.
Roboadvisors tend to charge fairly low rates and employ Nobel-prize winning algorithms on your money. However, unlike traditional financial advisers, roboadvisers aren’t as personalized to your specific goals, says Vasavada. They also don’t have a long track record to prove their success.
So far, roboadvisers have mixed annual returns from 1% to 5%, according to NerdWallet.
“I would give roboadvisers about 25 years before comparing their returns to the traditional method,” says Danetha Doe, financial expert and creator of Money & Mimosas, a financial wellness platform.
Despite uncertainty around roboadvisers, Doe encourages women to invest as early as possible.
“Roboadvisers have made investing accessible to more people. As we move into a more inclusive economy, I am in full support of folks who choose to work with a roboadviser,” Doe says.
Roboadvisers are heavily regulated and are considered a safe investment vehicle. They must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are subject to the same securities laws and regulations as human advisers. Most roboadvisors are also members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a brokerage watchdog and Wall Street’s self-regulatory arm.
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Vasavada believes that the future of the personal investment industry lies in a hybrid approach, where technological solutions like roboadvising are paired with human investment advisers.
On one hand, advisers will have to evolve by incorporating technology and tailoring their services to younger investors. On the other hand, roboadvisers are beginning to incorporate more human services to their platforms, Vasavada points out.
“I think that the future of the space is still with financial advisers. However, I think there’s a place for roboadvisers. And I think that roboadvisers are here to stay,” Vasavada says.
Ultimately, the key draw of roboadvisers is their convenience. You could set one up on a Sunday just sitting in your bed on your phone, which is precisely what I did.
When conducting research on young investors, Wealthfront found that many of them enjoyed not having to interact with anyone.
“We’ve designed our product so everything can be done right in our app through software,” says Wauch, “Since day one, our clients have told us, ‘We pay you not to talk to me.'”
As a young investor and roboadvising client myself, I couldn’t agree more.
Michelle Shen is a Money & Tech Digital Reporter for USATODAY. You can reach her @michelle_shen10 on Twitter. She uses Wealthfront as a roboadviser.
Putting Money Where the Stats Are: The Case for Gender-Balanced Investing – International Banker
“We invest in strong management and solid businesses, regardless of gender”—this is common rhetoric of fund managers, whose industry is historically dominated by men. Less than 1 percent of the $70 trillion of global financial assets is managed by minority- or women-owned firms1U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Diversity and Inclusion Report.. As allocators of capital, we’ve become numb to reading management reports of publicly listed companies dominated by men; in fact, only 0.01 percent of all IPOs (initial public offerings) in the United States were led by female founders. We also know that it takes a village to get there, and early backers determine where founders end up. So, where are the investors in female founders along their journeys? Is being gender blind leading us to miss out on the larger opportunities?
Creating inclusive markets that solve problems of limited access to healthcare, education, financial and other services hinges on enabling diverse business leaders. Women are not only half of the market and a large part of the labor force, but they are also drivers of household expenditures. Their inability to access markets excludes entire families from better standards of living.
Countless studies have shown the benefits that materialize from gender diversity in building companies that deliver both financial returns and social benefits. Yet, in the venture-capital and private-equity (VC and PE) industries, which provide entrepreneurs with access to funding when public-equity markets and debt may be less viable sources of capital, women remain severely underrepresented as investment decision-makers and as capable investees and recipients of growth funding.
Billions of dollars are invested in growing startups every year; 2 percent of those dollars go to female founders2Fast Company: “Why it’s incredibly rare for companies led and founded by women to IPO,” Leslie Feinzaig, July 16, 2021.. The lack of diversity is even more pronounced in emerging markets and is dismal in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where we both work. Venture funding in the region reached record highs, crossing the billion-dollar mark in 20203Magnitt: “MENA HI 2021 Venture Investment Report.. In contrast, female founders receiving funding represented only 6 percent of the total VC and PE funding available in MENA4International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.. This is not just a missed opportunity; it’s a grave market fail.
When talking to women business owners, we often ask why fundraising is a challenge. Looking at their pace of growth, funding remains a critical constraint. The data reveals that the median female-led business receives 65 percent of the funding received by the median male-led business. Female founders tend to receive funding at the earlier stages from accelerators and incubators, then fall out of the arena in later (and larger) funding rounds. Male-led businesses are more likely to receive second-time funding than female-led businesses—17 percent versus 13 percent, respectively.
One often-cited limitation is, sadly, behavioral: “I’m not investor-ready”. Women are significantly more conservative in fundraising and avoid investors until they reach higher milestones in their businesses. Further challenges arise around where to meet with investors—here, culture plays an important role. Since most networking events happen during kids’ bedtime hours or over drinks, women in MENA tend to be excluded from the conversation. Social norms are one reason why women entrepreneurs are less likely to go after growth industries. One MENA female founder openly said on a roadshow, “I’d love to see male founders get asked: ‘Who’s taking care of the kids while you are fundraising?’” During due diligence, the founder of a last-mile delivery company was repeatedly asked, “But isn’t logistics too operations heavy for a woman?”
By and large, the anecdotes are many, and there is limited data to quantify the challenges. A few success stories do exist, placing some of MENA’s female founders in the spotlight, as was the case for the exit of the ecommerce platform Mumzworld or the acquisition of the events-management technology platform Eventtus by a US-based player. Speaking to women business leaders, each has battle scars to show and a common sentiment to share: “It was lonely. We rarely found women investors on the other side of the table.”
The VC and PE industries are still largely homogenous. Men comprise 90 percent and 85 percent of investment committees in both, respectively. That’s where decisions are being made and where the future of what our markets will look like is determined.
A mere 11 percent of senior investment professionals in emerging markets’ private equity and venture capital are women. Representation falls to 8 percent when excluding China and is only 7 percent in MENA. The picture demonstrates a major lag of 17 percent compared to female representation in business leadership within other sectors5Ibid..
Not only are few women found in the leadership of private-equity and venture-capital firms, but few women are in the leadership of the companies in which these firms invest. Just 20 percent of portfolio companies have gender-balanced leadership teams, and almost 70 percent are all male—even though, of the gender-balanced leadership teams in their portfolios, 87 percent have better decision-making, 61 percent show enhanced governance, and 60 percent have greater ability to serve larger, more diverse markets and consumers6Ibid..
Research confirms that the paucity of gender diversity is not good for business and financial returns. A Harvard Business Review study concluded that gender-diverse fund managers deliver an incremental 10 to 20 percent in returns compared to non-gender-diverse peers7Harvard Business Review: Study by Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali.. When VC firms increased female-partner hires by 10 percent, they saw 1.5-percent increases in returns for the overall funds and 9.7 percent more profitable exits.8International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.
An International Finance Corporation (IFC) study found that investing in gender-balanced leadership teams yielded 25 percent higher valuations. The median gender-balanced portfolio company was found to have a 64-percent increase in company valuation between two rounds of funding or liquidity events compared to 10 percent for imbalanced teams.
The imbalances in portfolio companies are correlated with the imbalances in investment managers’ leadership teams, since networks play active roles in sourcing investment opportunities and selecting senior management for portfolio companies.
Female partners were found to be twice as likely to invest in startups with one female founder and more than three times more likely to invest in a female CEO9Women in Venture Capital 2020 Report. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, this is in line with the finding that VCs are much more likely to invest if they share the same gender or race as the founder.Without the equal representation of female investors, female founders will continue to be overlooked.
If the research unequivocally supports gender-balanced ecosystems, this is enough reason to turn the tide. We need to acknowledge that the barriers are real, and they range from closed networks, biases and inadequate commitment to gender diversity from allocators. To be overcome, a concerted effort is required from multiple stakeholders.
When it comes to perceptions on gender diversity, a disconnect exists between limited partners (LPs), who allocate capital to funds, and general partners (GPs), who manage a fund and invest the capital raised. According to the IFC study, 65 percent of LPs regarded the gender diversity of a firm’s investment team as important when committing capital to funds. However, GPs reported that less than 30 percent of their LPs emphasized gender diversity when making investment decisions. If only 25 percent asked about gender diversity during due diligence and even fewer made capital commitments conditional on gender outcomes, the pledge to diversity should be perceived as weak at best.
LPs who set clear gender-diversity goals for their investments and underscore diversity outcomes in due diligence send strong signals to GPs that the organization is committed to diversity. The goals then feed into GPs’ portfolio managers’ diversity targets. Fund managers would require gender-disaggregated data from their portfolio companies and commit to improving capital allocation to gender-balanced leadership teams. Reflecting diversity goals in their investment processes and portfolio management is a major action LPs can take towards closing the gender gap while maintaining or increasing returns.
The data demonstrates a clear correlation between the performance of gender-balanced investment teams and higher returns. Despite their vocal interest in diversifying their investment leadership teams, less than 10 percent of GPs have strategies for achieving it. It’s a perpetual cycle, as hiring is dependent on networks. With fewer women in investment leadership roles, there are fewer partners who can tap into the talent pool of junior and senior women who have paths to partnership. Similarly, subjective evaluation criteria such as “cultural fit” in a male-dominated industry place women at a disadvantage and feed the cycle. Committing to internal diversity targets for hiring and promoting female staff and managers levels the playing field and improves women’s access to the opportunities already available to their male peers.
As the research shows, investing in gender-balanced leadership teams yields higher valuation and returns. Yet, less than 40 percent of surveyed general partners track gender-disaggregated employment data, and only 33 percent actively pursue diverse candidates when sourcing talent for portfolio companies10International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.. Here again, a concerted focus on achieving gender-diversity outcomes is needed through GPs’ diversity tracking; playing an active role in making the business case for diversity and giving feedback on strategies will go a long way in achieving gender balance.
Accountability toward these actions allows LPs and GPs to make headway in closing the gender gap, generating employment opportunities and providing access to markets, which ultimately results in higher returns.
If you fish in the same pond, you will catch the same fish. Looking beyond the familiar comfort zone and making determined efforts for gender diversity and inclusion will result in growing opportunities across asset classes, investment strategies and geographies. Gender-balanced investors are empowered to deploy their resources within diverse teams and through innovative solutions, creating inclusive markets and bridging the wealth gap. The research on returns on investment is clear—it is worth the effort.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Amal Enan is the Chief Investment Officer of the American University in Cairo’s Endowment and Managing Director at Global Ventures. Prior to joining Global Ventures, Amal was the Executive Director of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, and prior to that, she was part of a team of economists at the Macro-Fiscal Policy Unit in Egypt’s Ministry of Finance.
1 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Diversity and Inclusion Report.
2 Fast Company: “Why it’s incredibly rare for companies led and founded by women to IPO,” Leslie Feinzaig, July 16, 2021.
3 Magnitt: “MENA HI 2021 Venture Investment Report.”
4 International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.
7 Harvard Business Review: Study by Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali.
8 International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.
9 Women in Venture Capital 2020 Report
10 International Finance Corporation: “Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital,” 2019.
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